Food shortages: are Birmingham supermarkets affected?

A shopper peruses near-empty bread shelves at a supermarket (Getty Images)A shopper peruses near-empty bread shelves at a supermarket (Getty Images)
A shopper peruses near-empty bread shelves at a supermarket (Getty Images)

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Supermarkets and restaurants across the UK are expected to be affected by the food shortages this winter, with some businesses in Birmingham also reporting supply issues.

Food shortages are affecting some supermarkets in Birmingham.

New immigration rules, the aftermath of the pandemic and Labour shortages have all affected the UK economy and is causing supply issues in some supermarkets.

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Rising energy costs have also added to the cost of food production, and figures from the Office of National Statistics show that around one in six adults in Britain have been unable to buy essential food items in the last fortnight with food prices expected to rise.

The UK is preparing for a severe shortage of CO2 gas which will impact supplies of beer, fizzy drinks and meat.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was warned of the shortages caused by two major fertiliser plants closing in September.

Food suppliers warning of shortages include West Brom’s Ranjit Singh Boparan, the owner of Bernard Matthews and 2 Sisters Food Group, the UK’s biggest poultry supplier who said the supply of turkeys for Christmas will be affected by the gas shortage.

But what is happening in Birmingham at the moment?

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A range of the produce available at The Fruit and Veg Shop in Rivergate.A range of the produce available at The Fruit and Veg Shop in Rivergate.
A range of the produce available at The Fruit and Veg Shop in Rivergate.

Are there food shortages in Birmingham’s independent supermarkets?

Some independent supermarkets in the city have been experiencing supply issues.

Kawaljeet Kaur, one of the partners of Opinion Supermarket in Northfield, said that recently the shop hasn’t been able to sell some of the groceries that people have come into the shop for

“Some of the groceries that we used to sell we haven’t been getting for a matter of months now, so we can’t get them anymore,” she said.

“It’s something we don’t really have control over because if the wholesalers can’t get it then the retailers won’t be able to get it either -and it does affect trade because if somebody is preparing a specific dish and can’t get the right ingredients out of it then they can’t prepare that dish.”

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Becketts Farm in Wythall, south Birmingham, has also had some supply issues.

Ian Comer, the retail director, said: “We’re experiencing a few minor shortages but we’re not anticipating too many problems.

“We have had a few shortages on some confectionery items; two or three weeks ago there were some problems with supplies of sugar which was quite unusual, because we buy 25 kilo sacks of sugar and one of my main suppliers – a big confectionery supplier – couldn’t get to us for two weeks so we had to address that pretty quickly because we also have a bakery.

Roots Market, BirminghamRoots Market, Birmingham
Roots Market, Birmingham | JPI

Roots Market in the city centre has also had to deal with shortages in recent months.

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Speaking to BirminghamWorld, Tan Davis, the head of business development and sustainability for Roots Market and Roots Food, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have experienced import challenges for various products but positively this has encouraged us to source locally and work with local artisan producers and suppliers, In turn encouraging a more sustainable supply chain and championing local suppliers”

“We have struggled with a lot of imports and international products which we haven’t been able to source because the supply has been cut off – and there are certain products people are coming in for which we just don’t have access to.

“We most likely won’t have access to them until next year but like I said a good advantage of that is we’ve managed to partner up with some of the local businesses.”

The West Bromwich Business Improvement District confirmed that it hasn’t had any reports of any shortages from supermarkets in the town.

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Tesco logoTesco logo
Tesco logo | JPi

Major supermarkets

Tesco recently warned the government that panic buying due to a lack of HGV drivers could result in empty shelves in the run-up to Christmas.

Although a spokeswoman for Waitrose said the brand isn’t seeing any shortages across its stores across Birmingham.

A spokeswoman for John Lewis and partners said: “We are working closely with our suppliers and are very confident that we’ll have a fantastic array of products to provide our customers with everything they need over winter and the festive season. We also have Christmas food and drink arriving in our shops now and throughout the run up to Christmas.

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